NSW Forestry Corporation has been forced to give an undertaking to stop logging in Newry State Forest after a successful application to the Land and Environment Court brought today by Gumbaynggirr Elder Uncle Micklo. All logging operations have been halted in the forest until 4pm Friday to allow Gumbaynggirr Elders to survey the logged sites. The decision follows weeks of conflict in the forest after the Forestry Corporation sent in multiple logging crews to the forest under protection from NSW Police, locking up the forest and preventing Gumbaynggirr Elders from accessing their sacred sites. Newry State Forest is part of the area the NSW Government promised to protect as part of the Great Koala National Park.
Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said: “This is a huge and important moment in the ongoing fight to protect the forest at the heart of the Great Koala National Park. Since late July at Newry we have seen Forestry Corporation lock up the forest, throngs of NSW Police guarding the logging operations, koala habitat destroyed and First Nations Elders violently arrested and locked up for practising Ceremony on their ancestral lands.
“The environmental destruction and conflict that is happening in the forests of the Mid North Coast is a result of political failure. These are the very forests that the Labor Party promised to protect as part of the Great Koala National Park. It is unbelievable that now First Nations Elders are having to take the Government to Court to stop them destroying their Country and living culture in the face of this broken election promise. First Nations people should not be treated in this way and they shouldn’t have to commence legal action to stop the Government from doing what they promised they wouldn’t. It is shameful that the NSW Government is committing these acts of violence and dispossession against the Gumbaynggirr people.
“I welcome this reprieve for Newry Forest, the Gumbaynggirr Elders and all the communities who want to protect our precious public native forests, but I am calling on the NSW Government to cease the logging operation in Newry and the other forests critical to the Great Koala National Park altogether. It is time for the Government to make good on its promise, to end the conflict in the forests and do the right thing and stop destroying the Forests of the Great Koala National Park immediately.” Ms Higginson said.
For media contact call Sue Higginson 0428 227 363